Containment of Yarnell Hill Fire expected to jump; Peeples Valley evac order to be lifted

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- Fire managers expected containment of the Arizona wildfire that killed 19 Hotshots to increase quickly.

The Yarnell Hill Fire north of Phoenix is burning on about 13 square miles and is 45 percent contained.

Spokeswoman Karen Takai says that will begin to jump because crews are starting to connect the areas that already are contained on the northeast and southeast sections of the fire.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m. Thursday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Officer announced that the evacuation order for Peeples Valley would be lifted at 6:30 p.m.

The checkpoints for Peeples Valley residents will be located at Hays Ranch Road and Highway 89. There will be no access from the south end via Congress. A strict 15 mph speed limit will be enforced,

Those trying to get into Peeples Valley will need to show proof of residency. Locals who do not have the proper paperwork will be escorted to their homes to get it.

The community of Yarnell remains evacuated. Authorities hoped to allowed those residents home this weekend.

While the fire is 45 percent contained, it is still burning and there is a potential for flare-ups.

About 680 firefighters are on the scene.

Takai says winds are light, but gusts and thunderstorms are a threat, and it's still very dry.